Ran across this in the Superman under pressure thread--- As for generally praising the Air Force, I think after Stargate SG-1's ten year run, nothing---no, not anything---will compete in shameless flattery. Just not worth talking about in connection with Iron Man. One ironic reversal they omitted to discuss was Iron Man saving some Afghan villagers. In reality, the US and its cohorts are indifferent at best to civilian casualties from indiscriminate use of its superior firepower. At worst, the civilian population is attacked to punish it for supporting opponents. If the movie had left Stark's kidnappers as Asian Communists, it would have properly been perceived as hysterically villainizing the People's Republic and/or North Korea. These authors miss that not only did the real Talebans and predecessors receive US backing, but that the villains in the movie are receiving US backing. Stark seeing his company logo on the weapon that takes him down was a major moment. The story later on tells us that Stane was doing so as a rogue. The way that Stane at one point locks out Stark out of his own office rather does make Stane seem rather official though. When Stark comes back to the US, and takes up beating swords into plowshares and talking about taking control of his weapons, it is not a ringing endorsement of the Afghan war, to say the least. Indeed, given the US' role in the creation of the Taleban, it reads as if the script is saying that we in the form of our hero should take control of foreign policy. Of course, not only is taking control not quite the same thing as antiwar, even if the story advocates disarmament of a sort. Also of course, what Stark actually does is perfect his battle armor. But then, the character is explicitly portrayed as quite unskilled in serious thinking about anything but engineering (to put it generously.) I was not a big Iron Man reader. I had no idea who Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger was. In fact, I hadn't heard of Rhodes and only heard of War Machine on this bbs in discussions of the movie. However, even I had heard of the Mandarin and his Ten Rings. The fact that the movie explicitly names the villainous band the Ten Rings, aside from foreshadowing the Mandarin (Iron Man 2?) also explicitly makes the movie not about kicking Taleban ass. There are no visual tags of the band as Muslim. The villagers Iron Man saves look like stereotypical Muslims, but not the Ten Rings band, at least to my unsophisticated eyes. The question is, what did the story say to people who didn't know what Ten Rings meant? Did those people just overlook the somewhat atypical look of the Ten Rings soldiers and read them as Taleban? The intentional changes to the basic Iron Man origin story---blown up by his own weapons, tortured by a non-Muslim warlord in Afghanistan (an astonishing concept, no?) dissenting from government control of his weaponry, leaving the arms business, saving Afghan villagers (nothing like that happened in early Iron Man to my knowledge---or even later?) Stane's official role, if only as stockholder---reveal the intent to minimize prowar implications of the movie. But Hollywood does like to play it both ways. The new story says one thing. Visually, the torture scenes and Iron Man blasting the evil kidnappers are most easily read as saying the opposite. What did people like about Iron Man? Was it the excellent humorous dialogue, the antibombastic score, a Pepper with some brains and dignity, the careful rewriting of the basic story against gungho warmongering, the warmth of the Stark/Yensin relationship and Stark's humanity? Or was it just the cool way he's blasting the bad guys?